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bhobba

USB Only Grob vs Terminator

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Posted (edited)

Hi Guys

 

Quick note to Clay and everyone.

 

A USB only GROB with all the latest upgrades is needed URGENTLY.

 

Mine is lent to Rawl99 who is up in Townsville for 5 weeks but we have the opportunity to compare it to one of the hottest, and nearly 3 times the price of the USB only Grob, DAC's around right now, the Terminator:

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/denafrips/1.html

 

I have heard the Terminator and take my word for it, it is the real deal.   Is it better than the Grob?   That's what we want to find out - but the Terminator is really up there - it needs to be compared to the USB only version with the latest updates.  Heard it compared to a normal Grob, but will not say a thing - this comparison needs to be done with Clay's best effort - obviously both are good.

 

We only have the Terminator for two weeks so will have to move fast for this to happen.   

 

Will ring and Email Clay, hopefully he will see this and between all these methods make this happen.

 

BTW Rawl99 heard the Grob.  He designs and builds the Killer DAC.   He liked the DAC - it has very good detail compared to the Killer, his girlfriend who also heard it, says she heard stuff she never heard before, but the Killer has a 'realness' about it on certain types of music that is addictive - Rawl would probably say all material - but not everyone agrees with everyone else's view.  I own a Killer and I would say hear both - it's horses for courses.   Its not the Klein that the Killer was for sure better (at 7 or 6 times the price), this is much more a personal preference thing.

 

BTW I own both the Grob and Killer - which I think says something - my preference - the Killer - sorry Clay - but Peggy Lee - Fever sounds just do divine,

 

Thanks

Bill

 

Edited by bhobba

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Hi Bill,

I’m on to to it. Heading into work this morning to finish off a USB only Gross & then leave it running in for a few days.

It will be a fantastic opportunity to compare mine to the Denafrips Terminator which sounds like a incredible DAC.

All the reviews are extremely positive & the general consensus is it punches well above its weight.

Can’t wait to hear it.

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Bill, you are making Clay work on Easter Sunday??? :P  

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Hi guys,

Cedric here owner of the Terminator you have in hands...I hope Mike likes it with the Ml5. Go quick with the comparison because as soon as the Commonwealth Games are finished I will be back to pick it up. Haha!!!!

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On 31/03/2018 at 4:36 AM, bhobba said:

Hi Guys

 

.........

 

BTW Rawl99 heard the Grob.  He designs and builds the Killer DAC.   He liked the DAC -it has very good detail compared to the Killer, his girlfriend who also heard it, says she heard stuff she nevr heard before, but the Killer has 'realness' about it on certain types of music that is addictive - Rawl would probably say all material - but not everyone agrees with everyone else's view.  I own a Killer and I would say hear both - it's horses for courses.   Its not the Klein that the Kileer was for sure better (at 7 or 6 times the price), this is much more a personal preference thung.

 

Thanks

Bill

 

 

 

Bill,

just for the record you can grab your Grob at any time you need it.

 

To clarify a little on the quoted section of your post above.

 

Indeed I am impressed with the Grob Dac.  For the price point and versatility it has, Clay has done an awesome job of extracting the sound quality level that he has.  A lot of time spent playing with circuit options and component selection methinks......

 

So here we embark on the 'detail' vs 'resolution' conversation you and I have often had.

First off a wee clarification.  The killer Dac is the culmintion of a lot of development work started by Scott T and then carried on by Stevenvalve, Paul B, Terry D,  and then I have ended up carrying the torch and continuing the building of the units after adding my own touches to the design and implementation.

My emphasis in the implementation of the killer Dac is to produce natural resolution of the material that it is fed.

The harmonic construct of the musical content is critical in my view to enjoyment of high-quality audio reproduction.

THAT is one of the factors focussed on to produce that "realness' that you refer to.

The second critical factor is cohesion of the entire frequency range so that music sounds "As One".

 

What I consistently experience is that a LOT of products (particularly sabre Dac based) have a sense of heightened "detail" which gives the impression of more treble, 'air' etc but when listened to carefully it becomes quite obvious that this 'detail' is not a natural part of the musical structure.  It is an accentuation and disconnection of some of the treble region.

In this way one can hear things not previously heard because the musical spectrum becomes discombobulated ( my big word for Sunday :-)) and the treble region then stands out and disconnects from the rest of the music.

 

True resolution is heard in terms of engagement into the music, plus harmonic and sound-stage construct.

Artificial detail is heard as an etchedness/dryness/hardness and usually produces a sense of hearing excess 'detail' that imo should not be heard as separate and distinct from the musical structure.

 

So in respect of your comments:

- my better half did hear things not heard before but figured out after a couple of listens that it was because of this 'disconnection' that this information stood out whereas it had not before.

- the Grob is a great Dac for the $ but a KD it is not....Sorry Clay but have to be honest

- Drew came over and had a listen for a long evening and his sentiments mirror mine exactly.

 

At the end of your post I am quite unclear what you are comparing.

We are discussing the Grob Dac and then you refer to the Klein and 6 or 7 times the price.  Please clarify for me.

 

And just on that last point.  You and Mike recently listened to an MSB Dac that you both commented upon as being absolutely sensational!

I believe it is circa us$80-90k.

is it 50 times better than the Grob DAC?

 

Cheers

Rawl

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Posted (edited)

Hi Rawl

 

As always excellent post - and thanks for clarifying - and getting me to clarify things that were not 100% clear - its always informative and enlightening.

 

Looks like Clay is on it so we don't have to borrow the DAC.   Of course I know I can get it back anytime but since Clay is on it saves the trouble of organizing a time and going over there.

 

We are not comparing the mega priced MSB Select DAC - reputed to be the second most expensive DAC in the world - a lot rave about it - and Mike Lenehan was fortunate enough to hear it - I unfortunately was not there - drat's.  Mike cant give an opinion as he sells DAC's, but another audiophile there thought it was the best DAC he had heard.

 

This is the more sanely priced Terminator DAC it will be compared to:

https://www.denafrips.com/terminator

 

It sounded good - very very good - but before saying what I think I want to compare it to the USB only version which I think is better than the usual version of the Grob.

 

It was the other DAC Clay makes, the Klein, that we took on over to your place to compare to the Killer.   It was a tough, very tough test, but of course the Killer won.   However the Klein was not entirely shamed - the Killer is 6-7 times the price of the Klein.

 

BTW I have said it before so it's nothing new - for me, on the right type of music (in fact the kind I listen to) - I have heard nothing better than the Killer - that would be music like my favorite - Peggy Lee - Fever - its just so palpable and real.  But we have other music like Leonard Cohen - Secret Life - I just do not like thorough the Killer - sorry Rawl - don't like it that much regardless anyway - not my type of music.  Rawl is sure he knows why - and considering his experience I am inclined to believe him - its garbage in - garbage out - the Killer is just reflecting what Leonard Cohen recorded.   But for me - well I just do not like it.  Why other DAC's when playing that song don't have me reacting that way I do not know - I still don't like the song though.   People that know this always have a bit of fun at my expence - hey Bill puttting on your favorite song now - with a dirty big smirk on their faces.    All I can say is - what goes around comes around :na::na::na::na:

 

Thanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba

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Might chip in being one fo the few having heard Killer and Groß - would go differently having heard both cited, @bhobba.

 

The Groß is very, very accurate and resolving. It's excellent value for $2k. 


The Killer is extremely accurate and resolving. It has musicality the Groß doesn't have (would backup @rawl99's experiences here). It's excellent value for what it costs (which to be fair may be less than you've alluded assuming a Klein is still $1k, though in not having a current price quote I'll reserve comment).

 

Should be noted direct comparisons are a little more complicated by what you feed either. The Killer won't take DSD and needs something up front if your output is USB, and the Groß in USB form doesn't give the same flexibility in stream timing. It's possible to get a Killer to do hires and it sounds just as glorious as it does with Redbook when so configured. These are small examples of just how these are very different beasts. There are, as you know, many others. 

 

I wouldn't suggest to include the Killer among the giants the Groß slays. This shouldn't be surprising and isn't a slight on the Groß at all. If either were built by larger corporate outfits they'd both cost a few multiples of their current prices. The only time a Killer has traded hands at near-Groß prices it was 2nd hand on SNA; if your budget is $2k and there are no second-hand Killers for sale (I'd think those @rawl99 has built can be counted on two hands) - or if you really need DSD or more than 16 bits - get a Groß. Great value at the price. Probably more people should follow your lead @bhobba and just buy both :D  I am in the market for a second DAC and if I didn't need multichannel I'd make it a mission to get a Groß.

 

I would be interested to see what Clay could come up with in the $5-6k range. Sure, it's a much smaller market than $2k... would be interested to see it nonetheless. 

 

We're quite the lucky little country to have some great, boutique local DAC options at excellent prices - quite incredible what's accessible.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, rmpfyf said:

a Klein is still $1k, though in not having a current price quote I'll reserve comment

 

The Klein DAC is $750 - its the Klein 2 that's $1K - the Killer is about $5K last time I asked Rawl.

 

And yes I always suggest people get both rather than one much higher priced DAC - it's what I did.

 

Taanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba

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1 hour ago, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

Did the Killer beat the MSB ?

Trevor,

Never done a direct comparison.  I would love to at some stage if the possibility arises.

That would depend entirely on the generosity and flexibility of the gentleman that owns the msb methinks.

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@rawl99... @bhobba... @CedricH... @rmpfyf

I too own a Terminator...it is not in AUS yet...

Why are you comparing a Terminator using USB...

By all reports it performs best on I2S & the difference is significant...

The only DAC I know with 3 x I2S inputs....

My plan is for my KDAC to be "the spinner DAC"...especially with a new 192 board...

The Terminator to be the computer DAC...

NAS>(ethernet)Denafrips Server(I2S)>(I2S)Denafrips DAC(RCA)>Pre Amp...

I am looking forward to comparing the Terminator to my Phasure DAC...

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3 hours ago, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

Did the Killer beat the MSB ?

Me thinks Zingers is "trolling"...

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1 minute ago, Rob181 said:

@rawl99... @bhobba... @CedricH... @rmpfyf

I too own a Terminator...it is not in AUS yet...

Why are you comparing a Terminator using USB...

By all reports it performs best on I2S & the difference is significant...

The only DAC I know with 3 x I2S inputs....

My plan is for my KDAC to be "the spinner DAC"...especially with a new 192 board...

The Terminator to be the computer DAC...

NAS>(ethernet)Denafrips Server(I2S)>(I2S)Denafrips DAC(RCA)>Pre Amp...

I am looking forward to comparing the Terminator to my Phasure DAC...

 

Rob 

 

No DAC performs best on USB. It's a p***k to get right re timing. You can put a FIFO up there, isolate the lot and clock out properly at best. This is around $200-400 worth of parts with a moderate clock so most DAC manufacturers don't include as much. Or you can I2S which has its own challenges. 

 

I'll trade you Killer developments via PM :) 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

Did the Killer beat the MSB ?

 

The comparison wasn't done.

 

But please remember what the Killer is, and is designed to be, very musical and realistic from much tweaking and listening - its different to commercial DAC's right from the start.

 

Thanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Rob181 said:

Me thinks Zingers is "trolling"...

Your personal attack is unwelcome.

 

in any event, the reason for my question was the below quote. Its better than the DCS apparently. So not out of the question that it might best the MSB. 

 

 

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: Shootout Win
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2010, 09:04:25 PM »
 
Honestly I am not that suprised by the outcome.

Bring on the dCS stack, MSB, zanden, audionote dac5 signature, WEISS, etc etc.   I still think the killer will take them on easily.  Note that these dacs are all over $10K-50K rrp.

 
 
Hi Tuyen
What do you fill the difference's were between Stevens dac and the AN dac5 & dCS 4 stack system .Having played the saxophone for a number of years I found the dCS nailed sound of it .

Cheers
 
I have heard all these dacs. The best was the DCS 4. It was great for the first 10 minutes, but soon showed itself as just  great HIFI, not like real music (no valves) but still very good, but a little expensive for me, do you guys what me to buy you one each, have your credit cards ready 
Edited by Sir Sanders Zingmore

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Rob181 said:

@rawl99... @bhobba... @CedricH... @rmpfyf

I too own a Terminator...it is not in AUS yet...

Why are you comparing a Terminator using USB...

By all reports it performs best on I2S & the difference is significant...

The only DAC I know with 3 x I2S inputs....

My plan is for my KDAC to be "the spinner DAC"...especially with a new 192 board...

The Terminator to be the computer DAC...

NAS>(ethernet)Denafrips Server(I2S)>(I2S)Denafrips DAC(RCA)>Pre Amp...

I am looking forward to comparing the Terminator to my Phasure DAC...

 

Simply ease of comparison - the Grob does not have I2S - the best sounding one is the USB only one and is the one I wanted to compare because of that.

 

Speaking to Rawl - if someone can bring the Terminator over to his place we can do as I2S comparison using Rawl's state of the art, no compromise, incredibly sounding cable - best he talks about it though - very high end and ultra cutting edge :thumb::thumb::thumb:

 

Thanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba

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4 minutes ago, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

Your personal attack is unwelcome.

Now that is rich...coming from you...

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6 minutes ago, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

in any event, the reason for my question was the below quote. Its better than the DCS apparently. So not out of the question that it might best the MSB. 

Rubbish....

As evidence...your quote refers to a 2010 post...

There have been one or two advances in DACS since then...

You are most welcome to post contributions that add value...

Otherwise please desist from thinly veiled trolling...

Thank you...

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Moderator

If this squabble continues, we will lock the thread.

 

As I say to my children, don’t tease, but equally, don’t react to it.

 

Orp.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

in any event, the reason for my question was the below quote. Its better than the DCS apparently. So not out of the question that it might best the MSB. 

I know of that comparison and its not quite that simple.  I have explained how the Killer was designed and what it does.  Now, if I remember correctly there were a number of DAC's at the comparison - they were quickly weeded out and it was down to the Killer and DCS.  Some preferred the Killer - others the DCS - so I  remember being told anyway.  You must always remember when you reach the rarefied atmosphere of top tier DAC's personal preference comes into it.  Some don't like the Killer - words I heard were varied - too hi-fi'ish - they wanted an obvious valve sound which the Killer is not - or it's a one trick pony like all valve gear in their view - brilliant midrange but other music like rock they are not so enamored with.  Some say the DCS is very ultra hi-fi but for them too sterile.   One in that camp heard the MSB but didn't find it like that. 

 

Please lets not make this another Killer DAC thread - nothing will be said that hasn't been said before.   I like the Killer on the music I listen to but as I mentioned on other music its not to my taste.   That's why I have both the Killer and Grob.  Some may not like either - Clay and Rawl I am sure couldn't care less - they know they make good DAC's.   I have heard enough DAC's in my time to know if you are in the market for a DAC its a good idea to listen to both.

 

So far I have not said anything about the sound of the Terminator.   Its very very good and up there in quality terms with all the others.  Its sound is simply very clean, clear, pure and uncolored.   This is possibly from the huge number of capacitors they have in the filter-bank lowering the overall ESR - but that is just conjecture.  Right now I will not say how it compares to the Klein - but I will - have no fear.

 

Thanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba

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Could you imagine recapping a Terminator? Wow.

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What’s wrong with Leonard Cohen’s Secret Life track? I sometimes use it for a listening comparison. 

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6 minutes ago, Mike13 said:

What’s wrong with Leonard Cohen’s Secret Life track? I sometimes use it for a listening comparison. 

Actually nothing at all!!

I do too.

In the comparison where Bill heard it through the KD there were a few significant compromises unintentionally made in the setup of the KD and that resulted in a noticeable bloom in Leonard's vocals that Bill did not like.  However, the recording is very close-miked and has that character to the vocals nonetheless.

After Bills negative comments about what he thought about that track through the KD I decided to try a comparison at home.

Same track via my KD on my system via valve amp and ML 3 speakers vs

same track via Oppo 95 through Carver amplification into same ML 3 speakers in exact same room and configuration.

 

The sonic balance and character were virtually the same suggesting that the balance Bill does not like is indeed the recording and not introduced by the KD.  KD plus valves were more engaging and enjoyable however.

One of these days I will convince Bill that Cohen is not evil.............:-)

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2 hours ago, rmpfyf said:

Could you imagine recapping a Terminator? Wow.

I think it is called "therapy"

 

Try doing all the cards on a  studer tape deck>.................

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Posted (edited)

@bhobba  Bill, when you compare the Terminator with the Groß, can you please compare PCM and DSD tracks.  I find the Groß DSD is significantly better than PCM in my usb-only Groß for the same recording. It will be interesting to hear how the Terminator goes in this regard especially when it has a separate part for DSD.

Edited by Snoopy8
typo

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